Tuesday 7 September 2021

The Necklace - Matt Witten

The clock ticks down in a heart-pounding crusade for justice

Susan Lentigo's daughter was murdered twenty years ago--and now, at long last, this small-town waitress sets out on a road trip all the way from Upstate New York to North Dakota to witness the killer's execution.

On her journey she discovers shocking new evidence that leads her to suspect the condemned man is innocent--and the real killer is still free. Even worse, her prime suspect has a young daughter who's at terrible risk. With no money and no time to spare, Susan sets out to uncover the truth before an innocent man gets executed and another little girl is killed.

But the FBI refuses to reopen the case. They--and Susan's own mother--believe she's just having an emotional breakdown. Reaching deep, Susan finds an inner strength she never knew she had. With the help of two unlikely allies--a cynical, defiant teenage girl and the retired cop who made the original arrest--Susan battles the FBI to put the real killer behind bars. Will she win justice for the condemned man--and her daughter--at last?

Perfect for fans of Karin Slaughter and Harlan Coben

Optioned for film--with Leonardo DiCaprio attached as producer

What did I think?

I loved watching House MD so when I found out that Matt Witten, one of the producers and screenwriters, had made the jump from screen to page I just had to read his new thriller, The Necklace.

The novel is written in a dual timeline following the disappearance of Amy Lentigo and then twenty years later when her killer is set to be executed by lethal injection.  My heart was breaking for Amy's mother Susan as she lives with the loss of Amy every single day.  Susan's marriage was another casualty of Amy's murder and Susan rather intriguingly blames her mother for what happened to Amy.  

Susan may be penniless but she has a lot of friends and they hold a fundraiser to send her to North Dakota to witness the execution.  On several bus journeys that really portray the vast size of America, Susan encounters the full spectrum of humanity and a twist of fate sees her questioning whether the man condemned to die is really guilty of Amy's murder.

As a Brit, it was really interesting to read about an execution.  There seemed to be a buzz in the whole town and it was almost like a show: 'Roll up, roll up, see a man die by lethal injection!'  I can understand that it must bring closure for the victims of crime but I don't think I could sit and watch it happen.  Maybe I would think differently if I was in Susan's place.

The plot is excellent, it's really gripping and intriguing and I was hooked throughout.  The writing is very dialogue focussed and you can sometimes tell that it has been written by a screenwriter as it didn't evoke any mental images of the characters or scenes.  The fantastic plot kept me rapidly turning pages though and I can totally see why it has already been optioned for film.

Fast-paced, gripping and intriguing, The Necklace is a great read and I can't wait to see it on the big screen.  

I chose to read a digital ARC via NetGalley and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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